Red Clay Sangha is a community (Sangha is Sanskrit for "community of spiritual practitioners") of Zen Buddhists who find meaning, support and presence in the celebration of coming together to share our practice, study, successes and difficulties in living as twenty-first century lay American Buddhists. While each of us must sit on our own cushion, we recognize the need to focus on the strength and warmth of our community to support our practice. We also realize that neither the practice nor the community come without effort and direction.
We recognize and embrace the uniqueness of each member of the community and their gifts to the Sangha. We also recognize and embrace the teachings of the many varied lineages and traditions and their gifts to Buddhist practice over the centuries. It is in this light that we seek to bring guest teachers from throughout the country to our retreats and encourage our members to seek out remote teachers to help nourish our practices. It is also in this spirit that we have ties to the Atlanta interfaith community and support a group of interfaith contemplative practitioners. We rely on our leadership to keep this stable while allowing for the change that is necessary for vitality and growth.
We owe much to the monastic communities which have kept alive the Zen practices and train priests in ritual and services. We, however, are a lay community (not monastic). We believe that our practice is vital and valid in the context of Zen Buddhism. We are lay practitioners by choice and see interaction and engagement with the world as a vital component to life on the spiritual path.
As a lay practice community, we see engaging with the surrounding community as an important component of our practice community. Our focus inward during meditation must be balanced by this outward focus in activities of service to those in need, bring Buddhist teachings and practice to those who request it and engaging with fellow spiritual seekers to find common ground.
We believe strongly in the core value of generosity and abundance and wish to bring our practice programs to the public as a gift and without fees. In this way, when our members donate to Red Clay Sangha they are giving their time, treasure and talent to the entire world. We strive to make all practice programs open to the public without charge.
We understand that the skills required for leadership within our community, both spiritual and managerial, need to be learned and cultivated like any other skills. We are in the process of looking to the surrounding academic and spiritual communities to build a robust training program for our internal leaders which we can also offer to others in the area. We are fortunate to have the resources of Emory University nearby and have already held successful training with their assistance.
We are a young organization (founded in May 2011) and are currently shaping our vision and mission for a long and meaningful future.